A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Is that a Pantry Weevil in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

I have a favorite summertime salad recipe that is always a huge hit at potlucks and family gatherings. It’s called Jeweled Rice Salad and it is the brainchild of Mollie Katzen, famous New York Times best-selling author of the Moosewood Cookbook. I’ll include the link to the recipe at the end of this post.

The main ingredient of this recipe is brown rice.

“Huh? Brown rice? Like real brown rice?” you say?

Yes. Real brown rice. Long grain. And not that parboiled, enriched Uncle Ben’s shit. I’m talking REAL WHOLE FOOD, people.

It also has chick peas (aka garbanzo beans), grapes, toasted pecans, scallions, and parsley, so it’s a real beaut! The dressing is mostly lemon juice and EVOO with a little honey and garlic; very Mediterranean. It’s best served at room temperature, but the refrigerated leftovers are good the next day too.

This dish is totally different than anything else you’ll see at a potluck (especially in the South) because it’s SO healthy. No condensed soup, no mayo, no stick of butter, no pound o’ cheese. As much as I loves me some Paula Deen, I can’t actually eat most of her recipes (very often) or my butt would be as big as a doublewide, and not in a back-that-up-like-a-Tonka-truck-juicy-JLo-badonkadonk-kinda-way. More of a badonkaDON’T kinda way. (Look, I drink a lot and I don’t really exercise, so eating healthy foods is my only defense against the dark arts.)

This recipe is a little labor intensive, but it’s worth it. I love this dish and I hope you will too! However, in full disclosure, and in honor of Just the Tip Tuesday, I have to tell you something.

The last time I made this salad I had a teensy weensy problem.

But first, you should know, as a story teller and a writer and a private detective wannabe, I have a very keen sense of observation. Like freakishly keen. I notice things. Even minute details. And that’s not always a good thing. Just ask my kids.

So the other day when I was making this dish and I poured the brown rice into my measuring cup, I immediately noticed something strange.

Do you see it?


How about now…

No? Not yet?

Okay, let’s try this: (Special thanks to my kid for his badass LiveQuartz skillz!)

See it now? In the red circle? Looks like a grain of rice…but with a little brown tip. (Grandma, put your damn glasses on!)

How ’bout if we zoom in and drastically blur the background?

Do you see what I see? A grain of rice with SEGMENTS? AND A FACE!!!

Maybe an action shot will help:

That picture IS a little blurry. Okay fine. I have no choice but to pick it up and show you up close and personal:

Ew! I'm holding it! The things I do for you people.

One of those things is NOT like the others!!!

Wait, lemme zoom in a little bit more so you can really appreciate the fine details:

Ride that weevil, Paula!

Paula! You so crazy!

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce my uninvited houseguest: the Indian Meal Moth larva. Some people call this thing a pantry weevil. I call him Bubba.

Apparently Bubba and a bunch of his free-loadin’ kinfolk hitchhiked into my home inside the corner of my new bag of brown rice last week. Aw hayle no.

As observant as I am, I just didn’t notice the little spidery webs in the corner of my bag of rice while I was shopping at Publix the other day. I blame the three children who were threatening to tip over the cart while chanting “WE WANT POP TARTS! WE WANT POP TARTS!” It’s hard to do quality control when you are trying to negotiate with terrorists.

Well, shit. What’s a girl to do?

I guess I could have thrown out the rice and gone back to the store. But I hate to waste food and didn’t have time for that. Besides, chances were good that all the other bags of rice at the store were equally infested.

So you know what I did? I picked out the larvae and cooked up the rice anyway. So what? Big deal. If I missed a few, extra protein, I say.

Oh shut your rice hole, Betty Lou. Eating a larva or two never hurt anyone. Really. I’ve put worse things in my mouth. And so have you; don’t lie. But if a moth or weevil infestation spreads to the rest of the foodstuff in your pantry and has a free-for-all-orgy, it could be disastrous…as in throw-all-your-food-out-and-start-over. I have a friend who had a really bad infestation last summer. Every time she opened her pantry, moths would fly out at her like a scene from an Alfred Hitchcock movie. I’m surprised they didn’t peck her eyeballs out or encase her in a giant cocoon and drain her blood while she slept.

I’ve been doing some research about these little buggers ever since I fed my family that Jeweled Rice and Larva Salad. Here are some steps you can take prevent an infestation at your house and keep your meals larvae-free:

  • Every time you buy a new bag of rice, stick it in your freezer for a few days.
  • If you have a current infestation, take everything out of your pantry/cabinet and clean all the shelves and corners with a vacuum and then with soap and water.
  • After it’s all dry, put a few whole bay leaves on each shelf.  Keeps them away, supposedly.  If you have wire mesh shelves, put the leaves in small bowls placed throughout the pantry.
  • Store all dried food goods, including dried pet foods and birdseed, in a glass or plastic container with a tight lid. If bugs are in that food product then the infestation will be contained and not spread to other foods.
  • Consider storing cereals and similar foods in the refrigerator.
  • Consume older food products prior to newer purchases of the same food.
  • Don’t stockpile grains and pasta unless you can store them in airtight containers.

If you’re not all heebie-jeebied out and are still interested in the Jeweled Rice Salad recipe, here it is. Larvae optional, of course. 

Oh by the by, if you and your Mom vote for The Bearded Iris over at Babble.com I promise not to bring any larvalicious food to your next potluck! (I’m in the running for one of the Top 50 Mom Blogs! Whooot!) 

Sweet dreams,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.


  1. Stacey H.

    Paula Dean riding a weevil is just plain good cookin! Damn funny and gross at the same time. Just got finished turning in a story to a magazine for Sept publication on Head lice. I feel a theme here…. just made me itch some more! ARGH!!!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Ooooh, head lice! We’ve never had it, knock on wood, but I hear it’s dreadful. Would love to read your story! Will it be online?

  2. Stacey H.

    Beginning of Sept I will post it on my blogsite. I put the educational, informative (boring) stuff at the beginning of the week and the humor posts at the end. Come on by. Right now I am in “comment” hell though. Can’t leave comments for some reason and I am about to punch my head through the screen. Maybe that will fix it! Keep on truckin!

  3. Barefeet InTheKitchen

    I was already laughing at the post and then I saw your Paula pic. Oh. Dear. Heaven. Totally made me snort.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Yes! Snort = success. I live for it!

  4. Allysgrandma

    Once again I have my own story on worms in rice. I was the youngest of 5 and for some reason my parents had left us overnight and my sister (8 years older than me)made us rice for breakfast, white rice with brown sugar and cinnamon…yum. I had eaten a few bites when my middle brother spit out a big bite…I can still picture it….hahaaha. Apparently brother had put milk in his rice and noticed some rice pieces swimming!! My eldest brother was working on his second bowl.

    Luckily here in Northern California I don’t have much of a problem with bugs, but I still keep my flours in the freezer and we seal-a-meal our brown rice (purchased in 12 pound bags) and then put it in one of those old fashioned looking canning jars that actually have a tight seal. The only time I ever had a problem was when I bought corn for our pet chicken…that got bugs, but we just threw it out.

    This reminds me I had better talk to my California grown Southern daughter/Marine wife to remind her about bugs in her grains……

    • The Bearded Iris

      SWIMMING? In the breakfast rice?! OMG. The horror. What a visual!

  5. FiveOGrrl

    LOVE the pic of Paula, that bitch never turns down a grub ride, i know you don’t either. I have an idea, you could hang your moose knuckle mom jeans in the pantry to scare away any other larva and pee-u-oopahs pupas from breeding like a trailer park full of hee haw muffmoths. No?

    • The Bearded Iris

      “pee-u-oopahs” and moose knuckle AND hee haw muffmoths?! All in one comment?! heeheeheeheeheehee! I don’t know whether to belly laugh or hire an interpreter who speaks yinzer/popo/vajinese. You KILL me, girl.

      • Fiveogrrl

        I may or may not have a nickname of ” Bucketmouth”….. Buckethead could be mine…. Switched at birth? Lmao

        • The Bearded Iris

          He does have a bucketmouth… “penis dajina ffffomit butt” Oh well, he’s MINE NOW! You can’t have him. (Well maybe for a weekend, tops. Call me.)

  6. Anne @ Domesblissity

    We have that problem with weevils over where I am Iris. I keep my flour in the fridge all the time. I just can’t be bothered storing in the freezer for a while, then with the bay leaves yada yada. No one ever died from eating a weevil, me included and my kids. In fact, what they’ve probably eaten from the backyard would make the most cast iron stomachs churn for a while. I’m going to try that salad come summertime. Thanks for the recipe!

    Anne xx

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks Anne! Sounds like you are feeling better too – glad to hear it! Great recipe – you’ll love it.

  7. Col

    OMG The image of Paula with “Ride that weevil” had me snorting with laughter. Thank you for being so freaking funny.

    • The Bearded Iris

      And thank YOU for finding me funny… it gets lonely laughing with only the voices in my head.

  8. Susan S

    EEEeeeeeeewwwww! Unfortunately, I DID recognize Bubba. Long ago my daughter poured a package of instant cocoa into a cup of hot water and took a big gulp before noticing it was FULL of Bubba’s friends! She ran to the sink, spewing! Perhaps that is why she is today a vegan, who knows?

    • The Bearded Iris

      OMG, Bubba likes hot cocoa? Holy CRAP! Thanks for the heads up! Off to protect my powdery imitation chocolate.

  9. Didi

    Hey kiddo!! So kiddo… the salad (thank you for the recipe), is almost like “tabouleh’? Yes??

    Love the medditerrean / Middle Eastern flair… how could I not??? I’m Greek!!

    Your are so funny..

    I voted for you again and sent your blog addy to 4 of my friends… hopefully they’ll be on here soon!!

    I can soooo identify with you, gross – but true!!!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hi Didi! Tabouleh has way more parsley and the cracked wheat is a different texture than the rice, but the middle easterny taste is similar! This one has grapes instead of tomatoes, which makes it sweeter too. I LOVE tabouleh though! Mmmmmm! Good stuff!

      Thanks for the votes and for sharing my blog with your friends! If they are anything like you, can’t wait to “meet” them. xoxo

  10. Angie K.

    What made your post extra perfect was the ad for Terminix at the end of it!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Agreed! So appropriate! Finally, Google gets it right. I’m so tired of all the alcohol treatment ads. My favorite though was when I wrote about getting bitten by a snapping turtle and the ad at the bottom was for buying turtles online. WTF?

  11. Kate Y

    After we had a wicked carpenter ant problem about 5-6 years ago, I’ve started keeping almost everything in sealed containers (neatly labeled because I’m a freak that way). I feel much better knowing creepy crawlies won’t be all over or in my shit when I sleepily go to make breakfast in the morning.

    Oh, and the Paula Dean on Bubba was HILARIOUS. As was “badonkaDON’T”… though I think I have one of those, so I shouldn’t laugh.

    • The Bearded Iris

      You know, I hear that admitting it is the first step to recovery. I’m talking about your labeling obsession, not your badonkaDON’T. 😉

      • Kate Y

        I’m totally okay with admitting my anal retentive side, as I come from a family who is one step away from being featured on Hoarders. 😉

  12. Allison @ Motherhood, WTF?

    This brings back some horrible memories for me – handing my then 15 month old son a handful of mixed nuts only to notice when he asked for more a couple of maggoty looking worms in the next handful. Such began my pantry moth infestation. I threw out everything that was not already in a can or a jar, cleaned the shelves and felt safe-ish. I carefully inspected everything. Months later, after very carefully scrutinizing the interior bag of an UNOPENED box of cereal, I deemed it ok and began to pour. A handful of those fuckers landed in the bowl. Apparently, when they say to immediately store all dry goods in containers, they mean it. We moved a few months later and I shit you not when I tell you that not one morsel of food made the trip from old house to new.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Ewwww! Maggoty nuts? That reminds me of a guy I knew in college. Kidding. Actually, I think one of the best parts of moving is getting to start fresh in the pantry! Maybe I should just move. Good for you for making a clean break! Bye bye, pantry fuckers. Ha!!

  13. Jennifer Coburn

    I LOVE YOUR BLOG! I am a Southern girl who tells it like it us (which a lot of people don’t like!) Love reading your blog. You say what other people WISH they could say and is only the truth. Sometimes you have me laughing out loud and when the kids ask what’s so funny???? Can’t tell them-this is good stuff!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thank you, Jennifer! So glad you are enjoying it! Keep tellin’ it like it is – the world needs sassy honest Southern gals like you!

  14. Jen

    I am a little disturbed but laughing because I totally would have done the same thing.

    And Paula, she is such a party animal.

    • The Bearded Iris

      No, you would have made a funny video out of it and forced your husband to star in it. And I would have watched. And laughed my ass off.

      “Party animal” — LOVE IT. That’s so eighties. Frankie Say party animal. Ha!

  15. Alison@Mama Wants This

    I store everything in the fridge. EVERYTHING.

    I imagine we’d be seeing Paula in all posts with pictures – right? That girl will ride anything.

    • The Bearded Iris

      I would, but my fridge is so small and cramped with rotting veggies from my CSA!

      Nah, I will find a new shiny thing to obsess over any day now and Paula Deen riding things will take a backseat…maybe. Probably.

  16. Angie

    Paula Deen riding larvae is the best yet! You crack me up daily – in my very quiet office, right around 1 p.m. you can hear me cackling!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks, Angie! That Paula sure knows how to party. Glad you enjoy seeing her on the weevil-rama. 🙂

  17. Julie @ mamamash

    I was reading along, giggling a bit, and then I scrolled to Paula riding the weevil and fell over dead.

    You are such a comedic genius. I will miss you when you’re too famous to talk to me anymore.

    • The Bearded Iris

      SHUT. UP. (Don’t stop!)

  18. Deanne

    You do realize, of course, Miss Iris, that the whole thing could be easily eliminated by simply storing your goods in a Tupperware container. Ask me how I know? Oh yeah, that’s right! I’m a consultant. But seriously, I was going through my pantry the other day and I kid you not when I tell you that in there, I found who knows what wiggling/crawling around in my bag of beans! I had run out of space for them in the Modular Mate where I keep my beans (really need to get some bigger sizes of those!) and thought it would be okay to just keep the bag in the pantry short-term. Guess what? WRONG!!! Lesson learned! Oh – but the other beans in my container on the same pantry shelf? Totally fine. I dumped the whole darned thing out looking to make sure there wasn’t any uninvited protein happenin’ in my beans. I was safe. The Tupperware kept out the bad vermin/bugs/what-have-yas. Shudder!

    Oh and gotta tell ya, I loved the badonkaDONT part! I’m with ya on the “drink a lot and don’t exercise much” but not so much on all the healthy eating. Shoot, we just bought a double-wide…wonder how long MY butt is gonna fit in here. 🙂

    (Oh – and if anyone wants to order Tupperware, hit me up via email: deannefoote81ATyahooDOTcom. My site is down right now because we just moved, but if there is interest, I’ll gladly get it going again!)

    • The Bearded Iris

      I actually have a set of Tupperware Modular Mates! I keep all my flour and sugar and cereals in it. But this rice came to me infested. So I think the proper thing to do is to just freeze-kill all new rice/grains and THEN store it in the Tupperware so it won’t be susceptible to new infestations. Bugs. Ick. Love me some Tupperware, ya’ll. When I bought my Modular Mates close to a decade ago the thing that sold me was when the saleslady said the US military endorsed it as a way to prevent/control infestation in military housing. Don’t know if it’s still true (or ever was) but I bought that shit hook line and sinker!!! You go girl!

  19. Katybeth

    A little dog hair, a feeble weevil, drinking after a child, finishing the last sips of the cokes or cocktails after a party (waste not want not), serving company pot roast after it was yanked from the jaws of a Great Dane…all a part of life.
    Thanks for the tips! I plan to save post them on my fridge. Paula and you are a good team.

  20. Hannah

    I had a dream last night that I opened the door to our pantry and moths flew out and attacked me. Thanks!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh wow – sorry ’bout that! It could be worse…you could have dreamed Paula Deen was riding one of those attacking moths.

  21. Lori

    My son likes to tease me about the day I cooked him a nice warm bowl of Cream of Weevils before school.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Awesome. He should be thanking you for the extra protein! Ungrateful kid. 😉

  22. Melissa

    OM “Paula! You so crazy!”
    FG “It’s hard to do quality control when you are trying to negotiate with terrorists.”
    + the fact that you cooked the rice anyway… AND served it to others?! LMFAO!!! I love you so much. heh heh

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